EA Sports’ lawsuit settlement has opened up a lot of evidence and documents that the public wasn’t allowed to see and one of the most interesting ones to emerge from the courts seems to blame the NCAA for not allowing EA to pay the players.
EA recently settled with a group of former college athletes who filed a joint lawsuit over EA’s failure to play the players for the use of their image on their sports video games like NCAA Football 12 and NCAA Basketball 10. EA agreed to pay a group of players $40 million in unpaid image rights and licenses. Attorneys for EA Sports, however, seem to be setting up a counter suit by revealing some evidence that the NCAA didn’t allow them to pay players even though they wanted to because of rules that prevent players from profiting off of the game.
EA Sports claims that they wanted to pay the players and even tried to create a “random” player profile produced by the game that would still allow them to pay the players something but the NCAA still wouldn’t budge on their rules. They claimed that their status as amateurs means they couldn’t make money off of the game in anyway. EA Sports, however, wanted players in the game that had real names so players could play as their favorite times. So EA rolled ahead anyway leaving the players with nothing. You probably never even thought of it while you were jamming away on NCAA Basketball 09 with you and your buddies…
The new lawsuit set up against the NCAA for putting EA Sports in this pickle won’t start until next year but it’s hard to see how the NCAA could win it. They’ve been lambasted in the press for not even allowed players to eat free food while they’re starving and even subsequent story just makes them look lower, meaner and greedier. They are the Ebeneezer Scrooge of sports except that Scrooge eventually learned his lesson.